Monday, 10 December 2012

Designer Spotlight: Saunt and Sinner

I first met Emma Noble and Toni Roddie at the launch of their new label Saunt and Sinner. Taking over the apartment at 29, the girls transformed the venue in to an instillation piece and allowing for a more personal experience. Porcelain dolls were placed in a row on the wall while a pale girl draped in Victoriana finery sat beneath a lone bulb. Everything about how they chose to premier their collection was utterly refreshing. Don't get me wrong, I love a good fashion show but to actually be able to wonder around the show pieces and look at the scarves up close was great and you got to have a really genuine feel for the collection. I loved the jam jars hanging from the ceiling with scarves pouring out of them. The whole evening had more of than just a touch of the fantastical to it and I was pretty much crazy to know more. What's with the creepy dolls? How the hell do you work with a partner without driving each other crazy and Saunt and Sinner? What the what is that all about?

First of all - tell be a bit about your backgrounds: We both Graduated form Grays School of art in Aberdeen in July and knew we always wanted to work on a label together. We have previous business experience through the successful S.T.A.G Studio and fawnd of, a small independent Scottish design label at high street level. S.T.A.G Studio was a faculty prize-winner at RGU and made the final 18 in the national S.I.E new ideas competition.fawnd of sold globally on the online clothing platform ASOS Marketplace. Toni interned for Christopher Kane and Georgia Hardinge and I interned with Doll - London Creative events agency. Gaining experience in both studio practice and production was completely invaluable to us and made the choice of having our own label a lot easier. 

Could you tell me a bit more about the collection:  This collection is entitled "The Broken Doll" which is heavily inspired by Glasgow born painted Heather Nevay and her paintings. We were amazed by the haunting beauty of her paintings and were totally captured by them. There is so much to work with in every painting we knew we had to use it to inspire a collection. Luxurious textiles such a printed silk chiffon and Scottish wool will be our main fabrics but that's all we can reveal just now.

How did you come up with the name Saunt and Sinner: We took ages to come up with a name. We wanted something that was close to our Scottish roots but also something that is not too obvious. The name Saunt (Old Scots term for saint) and Sinner comes from the Robert Burns poem, "To a Louse". As soon as we discovered it, we knew it was perfect for us and the brand. 

Could you talk through the design process (from actual product design to producing it): We always work together on the whole process from design to sampling and manufacturing. We come up with concepts together and then research by drawing, reading and collage in sketchbooks. Sometime we come up with completely different elements that we then can choose from to create a stronger collection. The studio is always covered in images or fabrics that we love and are inspired by. We repeat this process until we are completely happy with a design, however sometimes we are changing it up to the very last minute until we are completely happy wit it!

What's it like designing as part of a duo: IT'S FANTASTIC (we have to say that!) it can make the whole process harder sometimes as we have different styles and visions for each garment however having each other can challenge your way of hinting and therefore see elements in a garment that you may not have noticed before. Its always good to have each other for those 3am phone calls about an idea you have just thought of mid sleep!

What/who are your main influences and why:  The foundations for Saunt & Sinner collections are beautiful textures and expressive pattern cutting, we are trying to stay clear of traditional Scottish heritage and create a new wave of Scottish design.  We are very aware of our surroundings and environment. Art, music and culture all play a big part in our influences. We also like to take and focus on particularly unpleasant unappreciated objects or things that may go unnoticed in every day life and turn it into something beautiful and creative. It is about finding that unique characteristic in amongst the chaos.

Favourite designers:  We admire designers such as Christopher Kane for his attention to detail and creative concepts for his collections. We are also intrigued by the simplistic and elegant style of Celine.

Why do you think it is important to produce within Scotland: There is so much quality resources here in Scotland that you forget what you have on your own doorstep. Where possible we will try to use Scottish resources and fabrics if not as many resources from the UK as possible. All our designing is done in our Glasgow based studio!

Would you be able to let me know a bit more about Fashion Foundry and how that has helped: Fashion Foundry, is an inspiring new business incubator and talent hub for fashion and textile designers in Scotland. Focusing on the luxury market, Fashion Foundry offers 18 months business incubator support which will accelerate ten of the country’s most promising designers, giving them the confidence and skills to maximise their creative and business potential. We were really lucky to be selected to be apart of the foundry and its always interesting to work alongside like minded people. 

Any plan's to expand ladies: Our scarves are a taste of things to come. We are launching our luxury womenswear line in March 2013 with our AW2013 Collection entitled "The Broken Doll". The print featured in our scarves will be the key print for the collection. We want to use the basis of the showpieces that we exhibited at the launch night to create a beautiful and wearable collection.

Where can a sister hook themselves up with one of your scarves:  Our scarves are on sale from our website but be quick they are limited edition of 250!

I've already got mine - and am running a wee competition with the ladies giving Bee Waits readers the chance to score one of them which you can enter here.
All photos c/o Niall Webster

Until then - here's today's Christmas song for your consideration


  1. There is so much to work with in every painting we knew we had to use it to inspire a collection.

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